Magi Craft Meister 524
16 The Demons’ Mastermind Arc
16-03 The Land of the Demons
“Look, this seems to be some kind of Magi Stone embedded in this place. This is the key to its activation. If you remove it like this… There, now it cannot be triggered anymore.”
“I see. Thank you for teaching me this.”
Netros immediately identified and disarmed the trap. Ann eagerly watched him do his thing.
Lucas, on the other hand, seemed to be a bit too slow to understand.
“This is a magic circle. If you erase this part here, it will no longer be a threat.”
Netros seemed to have a vast knowledge about traps, and easily disarmed one after another.
The traps that were scattered all over this field seemed easy enough for him to find and disarm.
“Still, I intend to disarm them all, but some of these traps’ mechanisms might be booby-trapped as well, so better be careful.”
Netros showed caution as well. Lucas desperately tried to remember everything he said.
After they were done removing all of the traps they had found, Ann returned to Capricorn 1 and checked on the Magi Detector.
“It appears all traps have been disarmed.”
“Yeah, it looks like that.”
Shortly after Ann’s report and Jin’s confirmation, Netros and Lucas returned as well.
“Young Lady, we’ve found a total of four traps ahead. Two of them were set to unleash a ‘Muro de Fuego’ (firewall), another one was a ‘Trampa’ (pitfall), and the last was set to unleash a ‘Distruzione’ (destruction) spell. We have successfully disarmed all four of them.”
Istalis praised Netros for his hard work. Shion turned to Lucas as well.
“Did you manage to learn something new, Lucas?”
“Y-Yes, a little bit…”
“…Looks like you still have a long way ahead of you, Lucas…”
A faint sigh escaped Shion’s mouth.
“Alright, let’s keep going north.”
At Jin’s command, Land 1 started up Capricorn 1 again. It then began to make its way through the reddish radiolaria-slate-covered land.
They managed to traverse the red land without encountering any problems on their way.
At some point, they had completely crossed the Great Isthmus of Pazdext, and had finally crossed over to demon territory.
“Where exactly do your clans live?”
“Ah, yes, turn east past the isthmus and proceed along the coast. We’ll come across a small cove where we’ll soon arrive at the settlement of the Shinra clan.”
The area looked like a dry wilderness littered with red stones all over the place. There were a few patches of grass and moss growing here and there.
“This land doesn’t seem very rich, huh?”
“Yes, there is little cultivable land as there are too many rocks around and the land itself has become barren.”
Jin thought that this was the reason why the demons were going through such a shortage of food.
Then, as the sun began to sink into the ocean, a small cove came into view, just like Istalis said.
“Is that it?”
“…No, that’s not it. It’s a little farther to the east. The cove is a bit bigger than that one, too.”
So they kept on going east. There were no more interferences ahead, so the road ahead was smooth.
“Ah, there it is!”
Jin saw a larger cove than the previous one. The area around it was covered with greenery, indicating that it was indeed an agricultural land.
The sudden appearance of Capricorn 1 seemed to have caused a stir among the people of this settlement. The vehicle stopped its march temporarily.
“We can’t go on any further. Netros, please go there and try to explain the situation to them.”
“Yes, Young Lady.”
As soon as he was told to, Netros opened the door and jumped out of Capricorn 1. His movements were quite fast, possible to the high density of magic coursing through his enhanced body.
In the blink of an eye, he was already at the place people were making the most noise.
It seemed that Netros had started talking with them, but something was off.
Netros was acting as if he was being verbally abused by the inhabitants. He seemed to be bowing and apologizing to them.
Eventually, someone seemed to have raised their hand against him.
“…Is something off?”
“I’ll go too.”
Istalis got up and followed after Netros.
“I’ll be fine. They’re the same clan as me.”
Istalis smiled at the worried Jin and left Capricorn 1 as well.
“Hmm, I’m still a bit concerned. Can you go with them, Reiko?”
Reiko stood up almost instantly.
“I’ll go check things out.”
After saying that, she jumped out after Istalis and Netros.
Using “Invisible”, Reiko approached Istalis and Netros undetected, and was amazed by what she found there.
Netros, Istalis, and even Shion and Lucas were being reproached by the people of this settlement.
“Why have you brought humans to this place!?”
“Are you that proud of having flirted with those barbarians!?”
They were being bombarded by all sorts of slander. And more and more people would arrive and add to the chaos.
“P-Please wait, everyone…!”
Istalis cried aloud the moment she arrived at the scene.
“We were under the orders of the clan chief…”
However, she couldn’t finish what she had been trying to say. A stone flew towards her, hitting her on the right cheek.
“Liar! The clan chief said that you have escaped the village against his orders! And that you stole gold and Magi Crystals as well!”
They were hurling all sorts of ridiculous accusations at them.
“Go away! And never come back!”
“You should be thankful we’re not killing you right here and now!”
More stones came flying their way. Istalis just stood there in a daze. But Netros brushed off as many as he could.
“Everyone, please listen to me!”
“Shut up! You traitors!”
“You’re a disgrace to us! Leave this place now!”
At that time, an old man emerged amidst the multitude. He had white hair and white beard. And a pair of bright blue eyes, much like Istalis and Shion.
It was Bardius, the chief of the Shinra clan, as well as Istalis and Shion’s grandfather.
“Istalis, you’ve left the village without my permission… How dare you come back after having acted so brazenly?”
“B-But you’re wrong, Grandfather… I did get your permission…”
“I do not remember ever doing such a thing. And not only you took gold and Magi Crystals with you, now you bring humans to our village? For shame!”
Istalis was about to burst into tears.
“No? Am I wrong? And what’s that vehicle? That’s a human weapon, isn’t it?”
“Huh? It has destroyed the Stone Giants at the border, and captured Belials of the Kugutsu clan? And you say it is not a weapon? I think I’ve heard enough.”
“N-No, it’s not a vehicle used for attacking, but for defense! It was made by the Magi Craft Meister…”
“The Magi Craft Meister, you say? Do you really think I would believe in such fairy tales…?”
“It’s not a fairy tale! The Magi Craft Meister is real…!”
But Bardius had no ears for Istalis’ words anymore.
“I said, enough. You’re no longer part of our clan. You can go off wherever you want. Think of the fact that I’m not having you killed as an act of mercy from me.”
Istalis finally began to cry.
“Everyone, destroy that weapon.”
With that, Bardius turned away and went back into the multitude.
Meanwhile, the remaining villagers…
Almost as if in a trance, they all started walking towards Capricorn 1.